Tallinn property and rental market review 3rd quarter 2009
Goodson & Red team and Tõnu Toompark present:
Tallinn Property Market
2009 Q3 Tallinn property and rental market review
Tallinn Property Market
• Dawn is about to break, but it is still dark
• The rock bottom of purchase and sales prices is
It seems that the property market in Estonia is about to over-
come the biggest difficulties in autumn 2009. Even though the
price decrease has slowed down, the purchase and sales
prices of property are still falling in all sectors of the property
The turnover of residential mortgage loans in Estonia in the
first three quarters of 2009 was EEK 5.2 billion or more than
four times less than in the previous year. Loans are granted The average price of a square metre of apartments in Tallinn
very cautiously. The interest rate on residential mortgage according to the offers in kv.ee was EEK 19,228. The offer
loans in September 2009 was 3.6%. Braver banks have once price a year ago, in September 2008, was 26,241 EEK/m2. The
again started to advertise residential mortgage loans, but the offer price has decreased by 27% in a year.
terms are of course much stricter and getting a loan is almost
impossible for non-residents who do not have a local source According to the data of the Land Board, the actual average
of income. price of purchase and sales transactions in Tallinn in the third
quarter of 2009 was 12,220 EEK/m2 or 41% less than in the
There were 1972 sales offers in the centre of Tallinn in Sep-
tember 2009 and their average offer price was 25,352 EEK/m2.
According to the data of the Land Board, the actual average
transaction price in the centre of Tallinn was 18,316 EEK/m2.
Not many new developments are brought to the market in the
current conditions. Any new development projects that are
being launched are small residential buildings with no more
than 20 apartments. Big developers are still on standby, but
The consumer security index is on the level of -19 points. Con- they have promised to launch new projects in the next year.
sumer security hit rock bottom in March 2009 when it hit -37
points or the lowest level during the 13 years that this indica- Forecast:
tor has been measured. Consumer security has improved con- • There are more potential buyers looking, the number of
sistently since March. transactions with residential premises is going up
slowly, but prices are still decreasing.
7382 property purchase and sales transactions were con- • Both the global and local financial industry are still
cluded in Tallinn in the first three quarters of 2009, which is weak, the labour market is not expected to recover un-
one-third fewer than in the previous year. The number of til 2011. Therefore money supply will remain low and
transactions concluded with apartment ownerships in the the number of households who struggle with their loan
same period of time was 3266 or 39% less than in the previous repayments could still increase. Our property market is
year. still tense.
• There are no many projects in good locations that have
According to the property portal kv.ee, there were 7742 apart- been frozen or that are waiting for the sales prices to
ments up for sale in Tallinn in September 2009. The number of start complying with the market. It means that the
sales offers is decreasing slowly, but stably. The number of stock of new apartments will remain very low in the
apartments for sale was 10,184 just a year ago. next year, which may contribute to the preservation of
the current price level.
Rental Market of the Centre of Tallinn
• The ratio of rent prices and income has improved furnishing the apartments. It is almost impossible to rent
for consumers. out a completely empty apartment.
• The level of rent prices has stabilised.
• There’s shortage of quality product, no new de- At the same, the number of new apartments arriving on the
velopment are being introduced to the market. market is smaller than the number of apartments taken on
rent. It can therefore be said that the number of premises
Rent Prices to let is decreasing even further.
According to the data of the kv.ee portal, the prices of
rental offers in central Tallinn have decreased by 32% to 93 We do not expect to see any significant changes in demand.
EEK in a year. Today, it can be said that the price level has Demand is affected the most by the general economic envi-
stabilised. ronment and the labour market. It can be said that demand
remained stable all through the previous year.
As supply is decreasing and demand is remaining stable,
we can presume that vacancy on the rental apartment
market in the city centre will decrease.
The estimated vacancy rate today is 15%. We can presume
that vacancy will have dropped to 10% in a year’s time.
People who rent in the centre of Tallinn may be character-
ised as people who, in addition to the good location, prefer
There are more and more cases where several people the convenience of not owning property.
want to rent the same flat, which means that the owner can
let it out at the offer price, i.e. without bargaining about the Many people who rent apartments in the centre of Tallinn
price. are local, but the proportion of foreigners is somewhat big-
ger in the centre than in other districts of Tallinn. The scale
The long-term prospect of rent prices depends largely on of the areas of activity of lessees is broad – people who
the general conditions on the market. We can assume that rent range from (foreign) students to senior executives of
rent prices will be on the same level as today in a year’s companies. It is difficult to highlight a common denomina-
time if the economy recovers in the nearest future as ex- tor.
pected. However, we cannot forecast a price increase.
Period of Rent
Vacancy The duration of the average period of rent is six months to
There are not many new offers arriving on the market. The one year. Lessees often prefer contracts without a speci-
number of premises to let has increased by 41% over the fied term as they can be cancelled at short notice.
year, but decreased in the last four months.
Rented apartments are often seen as a short-term solu-
Some offers may appear on the market on account of tion. The temporary nature of renting may be caused by the
speculatively acquired property, where owners feel stran- person working in Estonia temporarily, insured events,
gled by loan repayments decide it would be better to fur- changes in the marital status and studies.
nish their empty apartments and rent them out.
Furnishing Rental Apartments
Speculatively acquired apartments have often not been Apartments that are to let could be furnished. They must at
rented out because owners have not wanted to invest in least have kitchen furniture, light fixtures, curtains and
curtain rods, sanitary equipment. Apartments that have not When an apartment is taken on rent through the RED
been furnished to the minimum level or apartments that do Group, then the RED Group organises subscriptions for
not have kitchen furniture are a challenge for the lessor, services and thereby makes taking the apartment on rent
which usually does not yield a positive result. easier and cheaper for the client.
It is easier to rent out an apartment if in addition to the Summary
minimum package, it also has a washing machine, ward- Rent prices in the centre of Tallinn have stabilised. A qual-
robes and shelves, i.e. only lighter furniture that is easier ity apartment that is in a good location and well furnished
to remove is missing. can be rented out in a relatively short time, often in weeks.
The slowly decreasing supply is reducing the difference
It is the easiest to let out apartments that are fully fur- between the offer price and the actual transaction price.
nished so that the lessee can immediately move in with
their clothes and dishes and the lessee does not have to Activity on the rental market of Tallinn has continued to
incur any extra expenses. increase at the time when the number of purchase and
sales transactions has decreased. The number of premises
It is advisable for all lessors to consider furnishing their to let has decreased considerably.
apartments if they have not managed to find lessees yet. A The decrease in property prices has made the people par-
completely empty one-bedroom apartment can be fur- ticipating in the owner-centred local property market that
nished for approximately EEK 100,000 to 150,000. renting residential premises is a risk-free and good solu-
The Old Town differs from the other regions in central Tal- The latter is supported by the conservative loan policy and
linn as it has a parking problem. The big advantage of new the low security of consumers that also affects the rental
developments is that parking has been solved either with market participants.
parking spaces in the yard or a car park under the building.
Lessees prefer regions in the city centre that are easy to • Tenants prefer furnished apartments; sales periods
access both by car and by foot. Examples of this are Tatari- are getting longer for unfurnished apartments.
Sakala-Süda-Liivalaia Streets up to Tartu Road. Also Põhja • More and more lessors are realising that the agent’s
Avenue. fee has to be paid by the lessor and not the lessee.
• Vacancy is decreasing and the level of rent prices is
The high-rise Tornimäe building and the large exclusive stable, however, the market remains strongly af-
apartments in the Foorum buildings can be highlighted fected by the general economic environment.
separately as the good location and prestigious buildings
mean that apartments can be let out for a price that ex-
ceeds the market average.
Size of apartment Rent price range*
Agency Fees and Good Practice 1-room apartments 3000-5000.-
The Estonian tradition where the agent’s fee is paid by the 2-room apartments 4000-6500.-
lessee is slowly disappearing. Lessors are beginning to
3-room apartments 5500-9000.-
understand that they are the ones who need the agent’s
services. This means that more and more lessors are pre- * Furnished apartment in a good condition that complies with minimum
pared to pay the agent’s fees themselves. requirements. The rent price range of larger apartments is too wide to be
highlighted in this table.
As usual, the invoices submitted by all service providers
(security, cable TV, telephone, electricity, gas…) and the
apartment association are added to the agreed rent price.
As a rule, the lessee enters into contracts with communi-
cations service providers in their own name.
tub, fully furnished
Buy-to-let Investment Pros: downtown (Foorum), new building, elevator, fully
• Value and price are not in balance
Cons: no allocated parking
The rate of return of the rent business is currently rather
low and usually remains between 3 and 5%. We are talking 1-bedroom apartment in Ilmarise block
about the net rate of return in terms of cash flow minus the
costs associated with owning the apartment. The given rate
of return does not consider the possible decrease or in-
crease of the value of the property.
Rate of return in terms of cash flow at the top of purchase
and sales prices in 2006 and 2007 was even 1 to 2%.
The possible increase of the value of the property must be
considered when taking a look at the rate of return of a
rental apartment. We can presume that the prices of apart-
ments will be higher in five years’ time. This means that
Rent: 3,900 EEK + utilities (asking price 3,900 EEK)
the possible income from the increase in the value of prop-
Details: 41.9 m2, I floor, unfurnished (kitchen only)
erty is added to the rate of return in terms of cash flow.
Pros: centre of Tallinn
Cons: I floor, no allocated parking, unfurnished
• The already low rate of return will hold or increase
5-room attic apartment in Tallinn Old Town
slightly on account of decline in sales prices, reduc-
ing vacancy and stabilising rent prices, but not sig-
• The projected future of the purchase and sales
prices of residential premises remains an important
factor in the rate of return and cost-effectiveness of
1-bedroom apartment in the centre of Tallinn
Rent: 18,000 EEK + utilities (asking price 22,000)
Details: 278.7 m2, V floor, furnished
Pros: spacious, sauna complex (Jacuzzi, steam sauna,
sauna), fireplace in the living-room and sauna, 3 bath-
rooms, large kitchen
Cons: no elevator and allocated parking, on a busy street
in Old Town
* all the transactions were “without commission” for the
Rent: 6,250 EEK + utilities (asking price 6,500 EEK)
Details: 53.2 m2, III floor, big balcony, bathroom w/ bath-
Goodson & Red Team
Goodson & Red is a passionate international property con- deavour to provide ease and comfort through considerate
sultancy dedicated to delivering premier residential and personalised and professional service to all our clients,
commercial property services in Tallinn. whoever they are and whatever their needs for property in
Through more than 6 years of consistency in one of the
most rapid property markets in Eastern Europe we have Our services include comprehensive property brokerage
developed an enviable reputation for our in-depth market services for sellers, home search, long and short term let-
knowledge and expert, considerate personal service. Al- tings services and a comprehensive professional manage-
though our knowledge is extensive both in the letting/ ment service for landlords. We also offer foreign buyers
management and the selling/investing process, in Tallinn consultancy to help investors diversify their portfolio, to-
and throughout Estonia we are widely regarded as the gether with a development consultancy service, providing
market leader in our niche of the property market: serviced effective marketing and branding for developers.
short-lets, mid- and long-term rentals, management ser-
vices, home search, as well as buy-to-let consultancy. Whatever your requirements for Tallinn property, Goodson
& Red is perfectly positioned to help you achieve your aims.
At Goodson & Red we embrace change and are constantly Please do not hesitate to contact should you have any fur-
challenging tradition because we have a strong desire to ther questions.
improve the way our industry operates.
Unlike some established estate agents, who offer every E-MAIL us firstname.lastname@example.org
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Goodson & Red Property Experts
RED Group PLC, Jõe Str 5, Tallinn 10151
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